US, Russia Discuss Pilot Distress Signals to Avoid Air Collisions in Syria

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US and Russian military officials have discussed pilot distress signals, language issues and other precautionary procedures to avoid conflicts during air operations in Syria, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters.

US, Russian defense officials exchanged ideas during a video conference on deconfliction efforts earlier on Thursday, a day after Moscow launched its first airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Syria.

“International frequencies that can be used at a time of distress…conversation between aircraft, what language would it be in…Those are some of the questions that we are trying to address…so that there isn’t a misjudgment or miscalculation in the air.”

The spokesperson added that US and Russian military officials will likely have a decision regarding next steps on deconfliction efforts within the coming days.

At this point, the United States is only reviewing proposals and is not planning to share intelligence with Russia to prevent miscalculations as both countries simultaneously conduct airstrikes in Syria, Cook noted.

On Wednesday, the Russian upper House of Parliament unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to deploy the Russian force abroad, focusing on anti-ISIL air strikes in Syria, after Syrian President Bashar Assad turned to him for assistance.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that it carried out some 20 combat missions in Syria on Wednesday, striking at least eight Islamic State targets.

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